How Does the OBJ File Format Differ from Others?

obj file format
Img Source - All3DP

The OBJ file format is a 3D file format that encodes the surface geometry of a 3D image. It can store 3D object-related information like its coordinates, colour, polygonal faces and texture. However, it does not keep animation or scene-related information. OBJ files have a .OBJ extension, and you can export or open them by using different 3D image editing software.

There are many file formats used for the 3D images. Let’s see how the OBJ file differs from them.

How is it different from the other formats?

OBJ file format vs. STL file format

STL is a popular file format that is used in 3D printing, according to But this format is outdated and does not fulfil all the requirements of a modern 3D image format.

Today, micron-level resolution and coloured images are being more commonly used in 3D printing. However, the STL format fails to maintain a high resolution, which makes it unsuitable for high-quality images. Similarly, it also cannot store colour and texture related information, due to which it cannot be used for multi-coloured 3D images.

On the other hand, the OBJ format can store high resolution, as well as multi-colour information very well. For this reason, it is gaining popularity gradually, and is expected to become very popular in the near future.

So far, OBJ is not as common as the STL format is. The reason is that it is not supported by all the systems and programs compared to the STL format. So, if you are interested in printing a 3D model using a standard printer, you should choose the STL format.

Other formats that are used in the 3D printing world include AMF, VRML, and 3MF. However, they are not as popular as STL and OBJ. This is because they are not supported by many systems.

OBJ file format vs. FBX and COLLADA file format

FBX and COLLADA are used in 3D graphics applications. The main difference between these formats and OBJ is that OBJ does not support animation and scene related information. Therefore, people interested in animation prefer to use the FBX or COLLADA format.

However, if your 3D model is not animated, or does not require scene information, then you should consider OBJ, because there are many benefits of using it. The key benefit is that OBJ is open source, and many CAD software programs support it. Because of this, transferring information from one piece of software to the other becomes very convenient when you use OBJ format. FBX and COLLADA do not have the same support from various 3D software programs.

The COLLADA format is comparatively complicated. For this reason, misinterpretation of information may occur while exporting the COLLADA file from one software program to the other. Another benefit of using the OBJ format is that it is very light in terms of memory due to its simplicity. COLLADA and FBX are a little more heavy in terms of memory.

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